Aug 15, 2022 - News

Telephone Road makeover coming soon

Rendering of Telephone Road. Shows a walkway and greenery and people biking.
Rendering courtesy of Houston-Galveston Area Council

Houston has the green light to transform the troubled Telephone Road into a multimodal dream with enhanced safety features.

Driving the news: The feds approved a $20.1 million grant for the makeover in southeast Houston through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program.

  • Houston will pay $5.1 million for the project.
  • The federal funding is from the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law last year.

Why it matters: Telephone Road is on the city's high-injury network of roadways that experience a large number of crashes.

  • The high-injury network, which includes only 6% of Houston's roads, is where 60% of wrecks occur.
  • "This is a life-saving opportunity for us," U.S. Rep. Al Green, D-Houston, said.

What we're watching: The city says construction will start in summer 2025.

  • Yes, but: If funds are received sooner, the timeline could be bumped up.

Details: The reconstruction will reduce the number of car lanes on some stretches of the roadway in lieu of wider sidewalks and protected bike lanes.

  • The project will also add crucial connections to Houston's greenway and bike network.
  • Houston's section of the project is from Lawndale to South Loop 610, but the Gulfgate and Harrisburg redevelopment authorities are also revitalizing the road beyond both those boundaries.

The big picture: Work from the three entities will create a cohesive rejuvenation of the thoroughfare from the East End to the Hobby area.

What they're saying: Mayor Sylvester Turner and members of the City Council praised the Department of Transportation for approving the grant.

  • Turner said the project is an "economic multiplier" for the community.

Go deeper: The Telephone Road project is part of more than 260 Texas projects granted funding under the infrastructure law so far, totaling roughly $8 billion flowing to the Lone Star State.

  • This includes money for roads and bridges, internet, water, public transit, electric vehicle charging stations and more.
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